Maple Grove REI Closes as Workers Launch Strike Over ‘Unfair Labor Practices’
Workers at the Maple Grove Recreation Equipment Inc. (REI) store went on strike on Friday, Oct. 27.
According to a company spokesperson, the store has now closed due to “inadequate staffing levels.”
A spokesperson for UFCW Local 663, which represents the workers at REI, said they were striking because of the retailer’s “unfair labor practices and its unilaterally implementing nationwide layoffs of more than 2 percent of workers.”
The store is located in the Fountains at Arbor Lakes shopping center.
The workers issued the following statement:
REI’s nationwide layoff is a clear violation of federal labor law and management’s latest failure to meet their obligation to bargain in good faith with Maple Grove workers. Instead of honoring the years of hard work and expertise of their most veteran employees who made the co-op into the successful brand it is today, REI made the ruthless decision to lay off tenured staff while hiring new staff at lower wage rates.
Because workers across the country have stood together and voted to join a union, REI should, as required by law, be coming to the table to listen to and negotiate with their own employees over major changes in working conditions, including ‘restructuring plans’ that lead to mass layoffs. Yet management continues to implement unlawful, unilateral changes. Today we say enough is enough. We will not rest until REI treats the federally-protected union bargaining process with the respect and seriousness that workers deserve.”
An REI spokesperson told CCX News that the company is “continuing to bargain in good faith with the union and our employees in the Maple Grove store.”
“Unfortunately, a number of our employees chose to walk off the job on October 27, 2023 and therefore we were forced to close our Maple Grove location due to inadequate staffing levels,” the REI spokesperson said. “We’re told this was part of a union protest about some recently announced structural changes to roles and titles within our stores.”
The Maple Grove REI store unionized in June 2023. It was the seventh REI store in the nation to unionize.